Officials: New city manager brings experience, potential

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Alan Lanning, Steamboat Springs' new city manager, is a confident family man with relevant experience in resort communities, say local officials who have spent time with the new hire.

The Steamboat Springs City Council last week announced the appointment of Lanning, who most recently was city manager of Brookings, S.D. He will take over in July for interim City Manager Wendy DuBord, who replaced former City Manager Paul Hughes in January after his contract was terminated by the City Council.

Lanning was the council's top pick from a pool of six candidates.

Council member Steve Ivan--cie said he was grinning about the choice all week.

"I think he's going to be a wonderful addition to this team," Ivancie said.

Ivancie said Lanning was quick to respond to interview questions and came off as having a quiet, self-assured demeanor.

"He seemed to be pretty comfortable in his skin," Ivancie said.

City Council member Paul Strong said Lanning was his top choice, in part based on the interview.

"He has all the right answers to the questions," Strong said. "His answers were pretty short and concise, but he hit the nail on the head on pretty much all of them."

Strong also liked that Lanning has experience with mountain communities. Lanning did some good things while working in Minturn, town near Vail, Strong said, including dealing with affordable housing issues and the local fire department. The way he obtained grant money for projects is similar to the way things are done in Steamboat, Strong said.

"He's been able to accomplish a lot wherever he's been," Strong said.

While visiting Steamboat for interviews, Lanning and his family -- his wife and four children -- stayed with Russ Martin, Hayden's town manager. Martin previously worked for Lanning in Minturn. Lanning was Minturn's town manager from 1998 to 2004.

"We're excited personally for him and his family to be back in the valley," Martin said. "We wanted to see them back in Colorado since the day they left."

Martin described Lanning as down to earth and a family man.

As a manager, Martin said, Lanning bred loyalty by being willing to "take a lot of bullets for the rest of the staff."

"He tends to step up to the plate and take responsibility very well," Martin said.

Lanning encouraged Martin to apply for the Hayden position.

"It's gotten me to where I am at this point," Martin said. "He's a hard worker and a very dedicated person. It will show right away that he wants to do good things."

He also said Lanning is a consummate professional who takes direction well.

Steamboat resident Arianthe Stettner, a member of the citizens' city manager search committee, said she and fellow committee members were impressed with Lanning. The six-member committee interviewed the finalists before making a recommendation to the City Council.

"I think he's going to bring some good energy and some new resources to the table for us," Stettner said.

The search committee was impressed with Lanning's professionalism and how well prepared he was for the interview.

Lanning's experience with issues that face Steamboat, including the environment and maintaining a historical downtown, also played favorably with interviewers, Stettner said.

Lanning's first day on the job is July 3.

--o reach Dana Strongin, call 871-4229

or e-mail dstrongin@steamboatpilot.com

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